Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What's Blooming / Ripe In June, Zone 6A Oklahoma, Part 1

The Mulberries are ripe on the tree in the garden.  Some people consider the Mulberry a "trash tree", and that depends on your attitudes as they relate to the overall scheme of things.  It is true that the birds eat the mulberries and then that makes all their little poops black.  Not so pleasant if you happen to have clothes on the line.  Or a white car.  But my neighbors have Mulberry trees and so I'm going to see black bird poops regardless of whether I have a tree of my own.  And the fruiting period is so short.  After that, a Mulberry tree is a pretty good shade tree and nesting place for the birds so they won't be trying to nest under your carport.
 ...Is this ridiculous or what?

Some people actually pick the Mulberries and make them into jams but I would rather let the birds have them all and while they are enjoying them, maybe the berries on some of the other trees / bushes will be not quite so tempting to them.

All the Nanking Cherry bushes have finished ripening and I have shown, in previous posts, my harvest from them.  There are a few left on the bushes but I've decided I have enough.

Currants, beginning in late May but in full production during first couple of weeks in June.

These are Pink Champagne and Black Currants.  If you go to, HERE is information on Black Currants.  According to this information, the Black Currant is no slouch in anti-oxidants, has more than blueberries, and I know for a fact they're lots easier to grow here in bi-polar northeastern Oklahoma.  Sour and seedy, though, and the musky odor is a little off-putting.  People back in the olden days made cough syrup with it.  The leaves also have medicinal properties.   Black Currants are easy to propagate in spring.  Just cut off the new tip of a branch, about a 4" length.  Remove all the leaves except for the top two.  Bury upright in a container (I use a styrofoam 6-oz coffee cup) in good soil, and keep watered.
They're the three on the left and the one in the middle of the next row, except that it's dying.  Some bug or a rabbit has come along and pruned that bottom one on the left.  When they begin making new leaves, they can be planted in the spot where they are to grow.  Shelter them somewhat, with shade cloth (I use old curtain sheers), if the weather is sunny.  When a damp, cloudy day occurs, it's a good time to remove the shade cloth and let the plant make it's final transition.

This is Lance-Leaf Coreopsis.  Many Coreopsis are annuals.  This is a perennial.  No herbal properties that I know of, just cheerful yellow flowers that bloom dependably every spring and part of summer if deadheaded.  Other than that, they ask for little else.  That's the Pearly Everlasting bottom left, just beginning to bloom.

Dianthus, Glenda says.  It just came up there.  Might've been from some wildflower seed I had planted a year ago, I've often had things come up the second year that didn't come up during the first.  Only other alternative was that it was a gift from the birds.  It's right up against the fence, could be....  This is supposed to be a perennial.  That's a lily next to it and an annual Coreopsis in front so you can't really see the leaf shape of the Dianthus here.  It has a slight fragrance but not very noticeable, and the stems are more woody than other Dianthus I've grown before.

This is Nicotiana affinis.  Aka Jasmine Tobacco.  Hard to find seeds in the US, more popular in the UK.  I had read how fragrant the flowers were and what a great trap plant this is for aphids.  I didn't find either to be very noticeable.  The plant is leggy and falls over easily.  I didn't plant any this year but they came up volunteer where they'd been grown last year.

Tiger Lilies?  Near the side gate.

Yesterday's harvest of peas, up to two pounds and plants are beginning to show some stress from all the moisture and the trellis leaning against the fence so many times.

Of course, it's not spring till Hubs has had his Peas And New Potatoes.  I didn't have to sacrifice a plant to get these.  I did like Glenda says her mother used to do: dug into the soil around the base of the plant with my hands, sorta like looking for eggs under a chicken.  I think she called it "graveling" or something....  It worked great and my plant didn't suffer any ill effects at all.

June's pretty little purple-flowered shamrock.  I think of her every time I see it.

Spearmint, drying on newspaper for tea later on.  I love spearmint tea.  Spearmint wine is good, too.

A volunteer poppy.  Seed I scattered in January got covered in wood chips in March.  Oh, well, maybe they'll come up another year.  
Volunteer Zebrina sylvestris.  Seeds from Glenda several years ago.  I planted it just in this very spot at first, and it thrived.  Then I moved it the following spring and it died.  This is the first I've seen of it since then.  Here's a good laugh on me.  When I first saw it, I thought maybe it was Lady's Mantle, as that's where I dumped the WinterSown flats in which nothing came up.  I thought about making some tea from the leaves as Lady's Mantle leaves are supposed to be a diuretic and I'm puffed up like a toad lately.  But I held off because the leaves looked a lot more textured than all the pictures of Lady's Mantle seem to be.  Didn't want to poison myself, making tea out of something that wasn't what it was supposed to be.  Moschata leaf tea wouldn't have hurt me, though.  Might've soothed a sore throat if I'd had one.

The lettuces that I planted in the Sweet Potato Bed have become bitter and inedible.  They are supposed to be heat- and bolt-resistant varieties but they didn't really stay good much longer than a variety that came up volunteer and isn't billed as being particularly resistant to adverse reactions to hot weather.  I thought I'd just leave them where they are and maybe there will be seed to collect, if the sweet potato vines don't crowd them out first.  I sowed the last of those seeds in planters for a kind of a "salad bowl" effect, and I had to bring them inside because something's been really chowing down on some of them.

I have these setting on cafeteria trays, on the top of rolling carts, in my office in front of a sunny window.  For the picture I moved the taller cart in front of the shorter one.  If the window locations are not satisfactory, I can always move them under the plant lights.  I didn't have much seed left for those in the planter on the far left and here you really have a visual aid for how much faster things will grow when they are not crowded together.   These are Merveille de Quatre Saisons, Year Round, and Jericho, from Pinetree (   There is a fourth variety in the garden, a volunteer, which I think is Speckled Troutback.  It did grow bitter sooner but only by a couple of days.  Some of the lettuces were harvested by cutting at ground level and leaving the stump in the ground.  Others were pulled and after I cut the lettuce off the root stump, I planted the stump in an empty spot in the garden.  I want to see if either will make new lettuce and whether that lettuce will be edible.  Maybe they'll just send up a shoot that will go immediately to seed.  Or maybe they'll rot. 

The spinach completely died out or was eaten to the ground.  Obviously a favored taste amongst wild critters or bugs.  I am beginning to think darkly of eating that which eats my garden.  Seems only right.  I still have a packet of Bloomsdale and I plan to sow them in a fourth planter and grow them inside till fall.  Maybe I can have fall spinach, since spring only yielded enough for one meal for me (Hubs doesn't like spinach). 

I haven't been weeding much at all so all these pictures will look pretty bad.  I work outside till about 11:00 and then it's just so humid and hot, I have to come in.  I have to pick peas just about every day and that cuts into my time.  Today I'm going to have to water the raised beds and recent transplants that do not have their roots very deep into the ground yet.
Hansen's Black Cherry.  In my zeal to get them picked before the Mockingbirds get them, I think I've picked too soon.  They tend to be less ripe on the under-sides that I don't see till I've already picked them.  There aren't many because water stood there too often during the rain.  Most of the fruit just dried up and fell off.  
Elderberry in full flower.  Some of these are from Diane and some came from Paula, my two "adopted baby sisters".  I think some of these bushes are a different variety from the others as some of the plants are taller and more erect.  That's a good thing though, makes for better pollination.

I don't know why this is, but I have a terrible time growing Nasturtiums from seed.  Last year I had my first successful plants because I pre-germinated them in a paper towel, then planted the seed in newspaper cups filled with potting soil.  Even then some of the pre-germinated seed didn't come up.  And quite a few of the seed didn't sprout at all in the paper towel to begin with.  I was thinking I'd have a lot of seed from what I grew, since the plants totally took over that part of the herb garden and they shaded out quite a few things.  Nearly killed out the oregano.  And then they only made a few dinky seed.  So I bought more and tried again.  These have turned out to have variegated leaves and I like them better than what I had, but they didn't germinate any better.  Since it was raining practically every day, I decided to skip the newspaper pot step and I had some that went ahead and came up and some that didn't, like before.  I decided to plant them under fruit trees.  Maybe they will shade out the dang bindweed.  Maybe they will make seed for next year.  It's a crapshoot.

This is one of the Privet bushes.  It seems to be kind of hard to find the old standard dark green variety that grows in neighborhoods everywhere you look.  To buy, that is.  If I'd known about how a plant can be started so easily (sometimes) from a cutting at the time, I'd have done that.  But these are an interesting color.  They're supposed to be that lime green.  And then in the fall, the older leaves turn dark and purplish.  If winter allows these leaves to remain on the bush, they are a really pretty contrast to the new lime-green leaves that come on.  These bushes have been in bloom for awhile now and the perfume comes up to the house on the breeze.  Some people don't like the smell.  They say it's "sickly-sweet".  But I don't mind it at all.  The butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to it.

These hollyhocks came back up from last year.  It's awfully wet there now so I don't know how well they will fare.  I have in mind letting them self-seed and eventually having a continuous "hollyhock hedge" along the road.  They don't look pretty very long and have to be cut down when blooming is over, so they might be more work than I'll be happy with.

The Deer Garden has gotten away from me.  I'm playing my Old Lady card on this one.  That purple stuff is Larkspur.  It's a perennial so I don't have to plant it now.  It seems to hold it's own against the Bermuda.  There's also some Indian Blanket that comes back every year, some hollyhocks, and I put Leading Lady iris out there simply to keep it from getting lost amongst the Indian Chief.  I planted Mom's bamboo out there, on the other side.  It's small but is sending up seed heads.  There's a white Datura (Moon Flower) coming up amongst the Larkspur that will take over once it quits blooming and dies back some.  I have trouble finding things that will grow out here.  I don't water it very often at all.  Those poor deer need to be repainted but maybe some people would like them "distressed" like they are.  They're made of exterior-grade plywood, though, and if they're not painted it will shorten the life of the plywood. 

These Day Lilies came from Glenda.  Aren't they pretty?

Mexican Tarragon that I started from seed.

I threw out some Morning Glory seed in this spot two years ago and these are the first flowers I've seen.  There are purple ones, too.  They'll probably self-seed every year now.

I'm kind of ashamed to show you this one.  Plenty of tomatoes getting pretty good sized, though.  There are carrots around the outsides of the wire cages, and some volunteer Marigolds from last year.
This is Ammi Majus.  It's known to most people as Bishop's Weed, False Queen Anne's Lace, or White Dill.  This is an annual and therefore it is NOT invasive.  Florists use it as filler in arrangements and Many people use it in flowerbeds for contrast and extra interest.  It is poisonous to livestock and may cause some contact dermatitis in people who are sensitive to it.  It has some medicinal uses.  Ammi Majus is often confused with Queen Anne's Lace, which is Daucus carota.  It dries well and will stay white if dried in darkness.  

Lavender.  I've had several different kinds of lavender and all but this one don't make it through the winter.  This one's been in the same spot for three or four years now.  It tolerates the bindweed, and the rabbits that trounce through it in the night.  
Peppermint Stick Spiraea.  I bought it thinking it would be a big bush and then found out it doesn't grow that big.  Roots go really deep.  I'm kind of disappointed in it but once it gets established it's nearly impossible to dig up.
Black And Blue Salvia.  Once established, you can't hardly get rid of this one, either.  Spreads by runners like mint.
 First fruit on the nectarine tree, ripening now. 
First fruit on the Moorpark apricot.  
The Comfrey's blooming, needs to be cut back.  I think a rabbit had a nap in the center.  I never get any seeds or seedlings from these plants so I think they are the variety that are sterile.

Last flowers on the Alabama Crimson honeysuckle.  The hummingbirds have been enjoying these and there are several bird families that have nests in the vines.

Dutch White clover, going to seed now.  I've been protecting these from Hubs, but I told him it'd be ok to mow over them now.

Chive flowers turning into seed now, with Walker's Low catmint behind.

This is Hopi Red Dye amaranth, beginning to make seed plumes now.  The bugs just love the leaves and make lace out of them every year.  Some people eat the leaves as greens, and this particular plant was used by the Hopi Indians for dye, hence the name.

I planted a lot of sunflower seed but not many have come up.

Walla Walla onion seed head.

Atomic carrot seed head.

Dill.  Don't talk to me about invasive.  Sheesh.

I thought the plant coming up in this tire planter was going to be Bachelor's Buttons, but I think it's going to be a weed.  The Bachelor's Buttons, Indian Blanket, and a lot of other wildflowers, chose to grow in the ground below.  I guess it really is true that plants will tell you where they want to be.

The peas are about done.  I've put almost eight pounds in the freezer so far.  The potatoes are turning yellow from the ground up and I may have to go ahead and dig them even though I've never seen them bloom.  The peppers and tomatillos look kind of ratty, still, but they are doing better than they were.   One of my squash plants was uprooted.  I think birds, looking for bugs and worms.

Well, this is not much of a tour but what with no tilling this spring, rain all last month and now the hot and humid weather and mosquitoes, I've lost the battle with the weeds.  I'll go outside for short times off and on today, but we're going to be under a heat advisory this afternoon so I'll probably be sitting right here at the computer by then.  We're expecting some cooler weather this weekend, I'm hoping to be able to make some progress then. 

So till next time,

Rock on.  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. Wow ~ you have a LOT growing there. I have your 'Alabama Crimson' honeysuckle. It is a native here and I just bought it. It is so pretty and I hope to attract more butterflies and humming birds. :-) Here it is called 'Coral Honeysuckle'.

    I can only work outside early in the mornings and only until between 10-11. Heat and humidity awful, not to mention mosquitoes too.

    Take care Ilene and keep as cool as possible ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thanks, Lorraine. You keep cool, too. Before long we'll all be griping about the cold. Heh.

  2. Great tour, Ilene. I haven't toured your place before, so I really enjoyed all of the information you provided about each plant. Since you're in northeast Oklahoma you aren't really that far from us in southeast Oklahoma. Looks like you might get some rain tonight. Even though we had way too much rain in April and May, we could already use more. I am watering the garden for the second time. Be careful in the heat, we're having warnings down here too, and the humidity is tremendous.


    1. I watered yesterday and need to do it again today in certain places. I guess humidity is good for plants, not so good for us.

  3. You are way ahead of me in produce. First I want to tell you that Zebrina is sylvestris. The lilies are daylilies or hemorcallis. The nectarines are a beautiful color.

    Glad the graveling worked for you. I usually gravel earlier and get smaller potatoes. My potatoes are extremely late and may not even make this year. This may go down as the worst gardening year ever here! Too much rain; too much company and too little energy.


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